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    Fitch rates Absolut Bank's $37-mln bond issue BBB(rus)

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    MOSCOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - Fitch Ratings has assigned Absolut Bank's two-year bond issue worth 1 billion rubles (about $37 million) national long-term rating of BBB(rus), the international rating agency said Monday.

    The bonds of the medium-sized private bank, which focuses on corporate and retail banking, were completely placed on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) Monday through open subscription at face value of 1,000 rubles ($37), the bank said in a statement.

    "The first coupon rate defined by the issuer was 9.7% per annum, with the rates of the second through fourth coupons equaling the rate of the first coupon," the statement said. "The rates of other coupons will be set by the issuer."

    Investors offered 9-10% per annum for the first coupon rate, with most of the offers ranging from 9.6% to 9.85% per annum, the statement said.

    Founded in 1993, Absolut Bank is 92%-owned by five Moscow entrepreneurs and 7.5% by International Financial Corporation. It was ranked 39th among domestic banks in terms of assets at the end of 2005 (the value of its assets reached 26 billion rubles or about $929 million in 2005). The bank's shareholder equity exceeded $170 million as of early May 2006 after an additional share placement.

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